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United Auto Workers Strike; Purdue Pharma Files For Bankruptcy; President Trump's Locked And Loaded; Relitigating Brett Kavanaugh; President Trump Authorizes Use Of Emergency Oil Reserves; Ric Ocasek Died At Age 75; America's Choice 2020; Concert Planned In Spirit Of Live Aid; Hustlers Marks One Of JLo's Best Box Office Openings; Arrest In Minnesota Synagogue Fire; Yang Responds To SNL Cast Member's Racial Slurs; Wall Street Close To New All-Time Highs. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired September 16, 2019 - 04:30   ET



DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: -- of pushing pills for profit. At the height of the opioid crisis, files for bankruptcy. What's next for Purdue Pharma?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Locked and loaded. The president hints at a military response after an attack that crippled oil facilities in Saudi Arabia.

BRIGGS: And several 2020 Democrats calling for impeachment, but it's not from president they are after. Why Brett Kavanaugh is now back in their sights. Welcome back to Early Start everybody on a Monday. I'm Dave Briggs.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It's 30 minutes past the hour here in New York.

The United Auto workers union is on strike against General Motors, the largest strike by any union against any business since the last strike at G.M. over a decade ago. The unions 46,000 hourly workers walks out of factories and facilities across the country after the two sides failed to come to a tentative contract agreement.

Workers say they want fair wages, affordable healthcare, profit- sharing, job security and a defined path to permanent seniority for temporary employees. G.M. said it made a substantial offer that includes improved pay and profit-sharing for union members along with investment to bring new jobs. G.M. also promised a solution for two of the four plants currently slated to close one in Detroit and another in Lordstown, Ohio. G.M. did not say what that solution would be.

Hours before the strike began, President Trump tweeted, here we go again with General Motors and the UAW get together and make a deal. A new meeting between the union and G.M. is set for 10:00 a.m. today.

BRIGGS: Also breaking overnight, Purdue Pharma are filing for bankruptcy. The company makes OxyContin, the drugs fueling the opioid crisis. The filing is part of framework for settling 2,000 lawsuits filed by state local and tribal governments. The company used aggressive and allegedly misleading sales tactics to push millions of doses of dangerously addictive pills.

This set of new resettlement grew after Johnson and Johnson was found liable for $572 million in damages for similar marketing practices in Oklahoma. Purdue had already reached a tentative deal worth billions, but many states rejected it saying, it didn't go far enough. This weekend, it was revealed, authorities identified about $1 billion in wired transfers by the Sackler family, which owns Purdue. New York and other states alleged the family is moving billions offshore to protect their wealth.

ROMANS: All right. The U.S. is now weighing how to respond to attacks on critical oil facilities in Saudi Arabia. Iran is denying any role after being blamed directly by the U.S. President Trump seeming to raise the possibility of a military response saying the U.S. is quote, locked and loaded depending on verification of the attacker.

Now the president's foreign policy team was at the White House for a National Security Council meeting on Sunday and moments ago, Iran ruled out meeting with President Trump at the U.N. General Assembly, when leaders come to New York next week.

BRIGGS: All these follows coordinated drone strike Saturday on key Saudi oil facilities. These are among the world's largest production centers. The attacks disrupted 5 percent of the daily global oil supply. Satellite images show the huge plume of smoke. Yemen's Houthi rebels often backed by Iran took responsibility. And a senior official briefing CNN suggested that in fact the attack most likely originated in Iran or Iraq where there are Iran back proxies. But evidence so far is limited. Let's bring in Nick Paton Walsh live in Tehran. Nick, good morning locked and loaded comes ahead of any reaction from the Saudis, what do you make of that?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it is interesting how President Donald Trump is using that term against students of this tweet will suggest perhaps that it makes military action historically less likely, but we are in totally uncharted water here, particularly given how Donald Trump appears to have pass the emphasis on establishing who's behind this. He says the U.S. think they know to the Saudi Arabian government, who notably being quite on the issue whether they agree.

The Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, that Iran is ultimately responsible. You have to remember here, we have been having a lot of sort of sniping is fair to say in the Middle East for the last months or so. About Oil tanker, about drones being shot down. A sense of people sizing each other up perhaps. But nothing really on this scale.

And many I think about 72 hours ago, with the departure of the National Security Adviser John Bolton. I think maybe it is a time for diplomacy. That the ultimate Trump administration Iran hawk could gone. While suddenly they wake up after the attacks on the Saudi Arabian oil fields, substantial, very damaging, that what a 20th of the world oil outputs. And see Mike Pompeo adopting the role of chief Iran hawk again.

Where does that lead diplomacy highly unclear? Yes, you heard the spokesperson from Iranian Foreign Ministry seems to rule out diplomacy, the possibility of a meeting between Iranian presidents Hassam Rouhani and his American counterpart Mr. Trump in New York. That seems more destined.

Now frankly, it seems a little tricky anyway given the Iranians a very clear, they wanted some sort of sanctions relief, will they contemplate that kind of diplomacy again.


But we are in unchartered waters here and water is frankly that lack any real evidence so far for exactly the kind of caliber of claims that are being thrown around. We simply don't know how U.S. officials are so confident that they believe Yemen was not the source of these attacks. Yemen is much further away from these oil fields than Southern Iraq or Iran is. And the Yemeni Houthi rebels who say they did this would have flown 10 drones they say flew 1o's of billions of dollars of Saudi air defenses to hit those particular targets.

It's possible but it would have been a big (inaudible), a big leak forward in their take at logical capabilities. One that Iran says in fact, they are able to in fact do, but the emphasis is now in on the Trump administration to really put meat on the bones here, to establish how they came to this conclusion.

And now we wait for their response. There are a lot of untested actors here, or a lot of tension that is been building. And I think concerns too, that the possible sense of a vacuum maybe within the Trump security administration. Now, Bolton has departed might lead to unexpected consequences here. We'll wait and see in the days ahead. Dave and Christine.

BRIGGS: Crucial day in Iran. Nick Paton Walsh, live for us just past 1:00 in Tehran, thank you.

ROMANS: Those attacks as shock to the global oil market. Oil prices spiking 10 -- 15 percent at one point, now trading at the highest level since May. Gasoline futures up 9 percent. This will mean higher gas prices around the world and here in the U.S.

John Defterios live from Abu Dhabi with details and John, you know, 70 percent of Saudi oil at one point will past through this humongous facility before it goes to the network of pipelines to get to ships to be sent around the rest of the world to feed the world's, you know addiction to fossil fuels essentially this is a very big deal.

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Well, in fact, it's the largest processing plant in the world, Christine. So, struck right at the heart of Saudi (Inaudible), the big oil giants operations. And it shows us how fragile the world oil market can actually be. Because this the number one exporter that took the attack and just like that we lost 5.7 million barrels of production. Now in Asia where we had the first reaction to the shock over the

weekend we saw price spike of 15 percent, we've cut those big games almost in half. So, the WTI benchmark is trading above $59 a barrel with a gain of about 4 and third percent in oil terms, that's a big rise, but is not the sharpest some are anticipating because Saudi Arabia said, they'll try to do what they can to supply oil to the market.

Now this a very delicate balance, they have about 200 million barrels according to my sources in storage, whether it's in Amsterdam or in Asia. They can supply that for about 30 to 40 days and if they can restore the production then we don't have a shock to the market, but it's a huge question mark. The other thing were watching is the strategic petroleum reserve of United States.

President Trump is said he's ready to release supplies. How much and when is the big question, but in the sense of context recovering oil market for the last 25 years to see whether it's the invasion of Kuwait, right.

The invasion of Iraq, the Arab spring. Huge upheaval in the past Iran- Iraq war to the Strait of Hormuz and oil supplies. Nothing compares to a one-day strike of 5.7 million barrels to the biggest exporter of the world. It's phenomenal.

ROMANS: Is realizing some good context to think of all of this other major events. This is the big amount of oil we've taken off-line. Thank you so much for that John Defterios.

BRIGGS: Democratic presidential candidates Beto O'Rourke and Pete Buttigieg just clashing over O'Rourke proposed mandatory buyback program for assault style rifles.


REP. BETO O'ROURKE (D-TX), 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hell, yes, we are going to take your AR 15, your AK 47. We will not going to allow to be used against our fellow Americans anymore.


BRIGGS: That moment in last week's debate was the first time a Democrat is actually suggested confiscating lawfully owned guns. Some Democrats, including Buttigieg just been sharing this concern.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did Beto O'Rourke say something that is playing into the hands of Republicans.

MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D-SOUTH BEND-IN) 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes, look, right now we have an amazing moment on our hands. When even this President and even Mitch McConnell, or at least pretending to be open to reforms. We know that we have a moment on our hands. Let's make the most of it.


ROMANS: So, O'Rourke responding directly in a tweet, leaving millions of weapons of war on the streets because Trump and McConnell or at least pretending to be open to reforms that calculation and fear is what got us here in the first place. Let's have the courage to say what we believe and fight for it.

In a call Sunday with Democratic leaders. The president claimed he remains interested in a bipartisan legislative solution to the gun crisis.

BRIGGS: Several top Democrats are calling for the impeachment of Brett Kavanaugh after the New York Times published an excerpt from a new book detailing sexual misconduct allegations against the Supreme Court justice. Kavanaugh has previously denied the allegations. 2020 Democratic candidates, Kamala Harris, Julian Castro, Elizabeth Warren, Beto O'Rourke and Pete Buttigieg are calling for Kavanaugh's removal.


Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Amy Klobuchar are not going quite as far but they do want further investigation. President Trump is calling on the Justice Department to rescue Kavanaugh.

ROMANS: The new book revisits claims by Deborah Ramirez, that Kavanaugh exposed himself at party at Yale. There's also a new allegation from a former male classmate, which the authors say was corroborated by two sources.

According to the Times, the female victim in that incident declined to be interviewed and friends say she does not recall the incident. A person close to Kavanaugh tells CNN, the accusation isn't new because according to the book's authors it was previously reported to the FBI and some lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

CNN is not reporting details of the allegation because they have not been independently verified. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tweeted Sunday, he looks forward to many years of service to come from justice Kavanaugh.

BRIGGS: Meantime Joe Biden was in Birmingham, Alabama Sunday getting perhaps his most significant speech yet on race, the former vice president delivering remarks. The 56th anniversary memorial of the deadly bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham. Biden who was struck to discussed race and some of the Senate vote on the campaign trail told the congregation, hate is on the rise again in America and silence on racism amounts to complicity.


JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, 2020 U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hate on (inaudible), it doesn't go away. If you give it oxygen, it comes out from under the rocks. It can be defeated or drowned out, but it can never be totally vanquished.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BRIGGS: Biden is coming off perhaps his best debate performance, but

a former senior Obama administration official, is not sold on Biden saying that watching his long winding answers that don't really make sense raise the question as to whether he is up for this. The unidentified former official is not affiliated with any of the Democratic presidential campaigns.

ROMANS: All right, 41 minutes past the hour, should anti-Asian comments cost a new SNL cast member his job. Presidential candidate Andrew Yang, shares his take next.



ROMANS: Forty six minutes past the hour, welcome back. Israel gearing up for an extremely tight race tomorrow in its second election this year to form a government. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seeking reelection, making a series of last-minute place to his base.

Senior international correspondent Sam Kiley standing by live in Israel with the latest. Hi Sam.

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Christine, if this -- the polls are to be believed. This is all going to be not about the election and its results, but the aftermath. The polls are showing that Benjamin Netanyahu -- excuse me -- Likud Party polling about 32 percent blue-and-white led by Benny Ganz about the same, which means that both sides not only have to mobilize their base, but have to get out and try to scoop some of those fringe elements into their main camps ahead. Therefore, all trying to knit together a coalition.

So, what we've seen from the Likud -- from Benjamin Netanyahu's reaching out to far-right elements -- excuse me -- and also on the left, rising importance of the Arab vote, 20 percent of the electorate here is Arab, Israeli Arab and they are lightly to get some 12 seats in a 120 seat Likud.

So in that context really if the opinion polls to be believed, Christine little bit inaccurate. There will be no clear winner and then we will go into the coalition negotiations from Benjamin Netanyahu's perspective, that means trying to absorb some of the extreme right Jewish power of votes, because that organization which has an ideology on the really very far extreme right could end up with four seats and he doesn't want his hands tied by bringing them into a coalition. He rather have the votes that could've gone to then going to him, Christine.

ROMANS: All right. Sam Kiley for us this morning, thank you so much for that.

BRIGGS: Thirty five years after Live Aid, and there's a new global effort to unite the world through music. Global Goal Live, the possible dream is being promoted as the largest live broadcast and cause event history. The nonprofit group is global citizen organizing the 10-hour performance spanning five continents scheduled for September 26, 2020 and will raise money to support United Nations sustainable development goals. The 1985 Live Aid contract attracted about 170,000 concert doors respectful that was seen in more than 150 countries.

ROMANS: All right. A big box office win for Jennifer Lopez could Hustler make her an Oscar winner, this movie is getting a lot of buzz and it's making a lot of money. CNN Business set the details next.



BRIGGS: It does not appear a fire that almost destroyed a century-old synagogue in Duluth, Minnesota was a hate crime. The nearly 120-year- old Adas, Israel's synagogue got fire last Monday, police arrested the suspect 36-year-old Matthew Amiot, they say he is given no sign he was motivated by hate nor biased and no accelerant was found at the scene. He has not provided an alternative motive, but the investigation is ongoing. Amiot doing court today.

ROMANS: Ric Ocasek, lead singer for the iconic new-wave band, The Cars has died. Police say he was found unresponsive in his New York City apartment Sunday afternoon. His band carved out its own musical niche and had a number of big hits including, Shake it up, Good times roll, My best friend's girl and Magic. His death comes a year after the cars were inducted into the rock 'n roll Hall of Fame. The cause of his death is not yet known, Ric Ocasek is 75 years old.


BRIGGS: 2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang weighing in the controversy over racial slurs by a new Saturday Night Live cast member. After comedian Shane Gillis was officially hired last week. Comments emerged from the podcast were he used racial slurs aimed at Asian Americans, including Yang. Gillis responded to the criticisms saying quote, on the comedian who pushes boundaries, I sometimes miss.

ROMANS: Yang, a Taiwanese American tweeted directly to Gillis calling the jokes cheap shots, but later said this on CNN.


ANDREW YANG, AMERICAN ENTREPRENEUR AND PHILANTHROPIST, 2020 U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Bigger picture, I believe that our country has become excessively punitive and vindictive about remarks that people find offensive or racist and that we need to -- to try and move beyond that, if we can, particularly in the case where the person know it is in this case to me by a comedian whose word should be taken in a slightly different light.


ROMANS: Yang says he doesn't think Gillis should be fired. Yang himself has drawn criticism for jokes about his own ethnicity, including last week's debate were he (inaudible) on Asian, so I know a lot of doctors.

BRIGGS: Did you ever had a dream that felt all too real. It happened to Jenna Evans and it was tough to swallow. The San Diego woman woke up last Wednesday morning and noticed her engagement ring was no longer on her finger didn't take her long to realized what happened.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Having a dream that we were on a cargo train and it was a dangerous situation, Bobby told me, you know, you have to swallow your ring. When I woke up and it was on my hand. I knew exactly where it was.


BRIGGS: It's in her stomach. Jenna taken it off and swallowed it in her sleep. If we don't have a good laugh until doctors told her she needed an upper endoscopy to get it out. The procedure was successful in Genesis. She now takes a ring off at night before bed.

ROMANS: Wow that is something. All right, let's go check on CNN business this morning. Let's take a look at stock market on how they're opening a new week around the world, you could see some losses in Shanghai and in Hong Kong, but Tokyo is up a little bit and you got European markets opening lower here. There's pretty much uncertainty across the board. New data from China shows that economic slowdown is getting worse. Chinese industrial production an important indicator for China's economy, increased just a little over 4 percent in August compared to last year.

On Wall Street futures right now, looks like they are moving lower here. The big focus around the world is oil prices and oil prices are spiking. Right now they are (inaudible) at the highest levels since May. This is all because of that attack on Saudi Arabia disrupting the global oil supply, 5.7 million barrels taken off-line. We just haven't seen something like that in recent memory. This means a jump in gas prices worldwide. There will be higher gas prices in the United States and this is a brand-new uncertainty for investors for the global the global oil market and for stock market investors.

Now take a look at stocks so far this year, it has been a good run, the DOW is up 16 percent, the S&P up almost 20 percent. The NASDAQ up more than 22 percent.

Action from the Fed and interest rates could leave socks to new all- time highs. Look at how close they are, the DOW and the S&P are very close to new highs. The NASDAQ almost 2 percent away from a new high. But then you inject this new global danger and uncertainty in the Middle East so that is a new factor for investors to deal with this week and there will be higher energy prices for American consumers here in the weeks ahead.

All right, just in time for national guacamole day, shoppers are finally paying less for avocados. The average price of the half avocado with a buck 16 Friday, down from 210 in the beginning of July. Growing demand a smaller California crop and seasonal production Mexico fueled the spike, almost 90 percent of avocados comes from Mexico, and the peak season is from November to April.

Over the summer pricier avocados caused some restaurants to take avocados off their menus temporarily and let say, price now back to normal levels as the harvest season in Mexico begins.

Hustlers did not taken the top spot in the Box Office, but it was a big win for Jennifer Lopez. The film came in a number two with an estimated 33 million making it Lopez's biggest live-action box office open based on a true story. Lopez and Constance Lewis star as dancers who work together to turn the tables on their Wall Street clients. Lopez's performance is already generating Golden Globes and Oscars buzz and one of the best headlines I saw, it was like feminism in the G string.


ROMANS: You know, like, businesses is like in this empowerment story about this women who are just like --

BRIGGS: Who long likely empowerment story.

ROMANS: Yes, but you know, break the law a little bit here and there, but turn the tables.

BRIGGS: I'm in. All right, thanks to our international viewers for joining us. Have a great rest of your day. For our U.S. viewers, Early Start continues right now.

ROMANS: Nearly 50,000 auto workers walk off the job. The biggest labor strike in the U.S. in more than a decade.